Understanding Microsoft Power Apps in 10 questions

“What exactly does Microsoft Power Apps allow me to do? Is my company big enough to use this? Is learning how to use it a long process?” Although it has been a few years since Microsoft has launched Power Apps, this application remains unknown by many. Find the answers to your questions.

1 - What is Power Apps?

Power Apps is a tool that allows you to build customized applications that take your business processes and automate them. You can create both Web-based and mobile applications. However, what really sets Power Apps apart, is that it gives both professional programmers and novices the same opportunity to build applications. Power Apps serve as connectors, services, apps, and data platforms that provide a foundation to build customized apps that suit your business needs. With Power Apps, you can easily develop apps connecting your data from underlying data platforms such as Microsoft 365, SQL Server, and SharePoint among others. Using Power Apps offer workflow capabilities and rich business logic that transforms your business from manual operations to digital and automated processes. Additionally, using these apps creates a responsive design that can run seamlessly on browsers and mobile devices. In some circles, Power Apps are seen as ‘democratizers’ as they open up business app-building of feature-rich and customized applications without coding! Well, that’s to say they level up the playing field. In line with the emerging trends of scalability and efficiency, Power Apps can integrate the use of AI to further refine their performance and utility. Therefore, save on time and resources on activities such as coding and training while meeting your business needs with customized apps. Power Apps facilitate open and real-time sharing of data among employees. Power Apps are a silent but critical partner in achieving your business goals.

2. How does Power Apps blend in with other tools?

Power Apps is also recognized for its ability to create applications on other Microsoft tools, such as Office 365, Dynamics 365, Sharepoint, and One Drive. Additionally, it is possible to add integrations with applications outside of Microsoft.

3 - What is the difference between Power Apps and Power Platform?

Power Platform is a term that is used to encompass four Microsoft products: Power BI, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agent, and Power Apps. This means that Power Apps are part of Power Platform. What do these four tools have in common and what groups them under the Power Platform banner? All four of these tools help people automate and analyze data. Furthermore, all four tools help people in data analysis and automation. Also, they can all be used with Office 365 and Dynamics 365.

Power Platform is the ‘parent company’

Basically, view Power Platform as the ‘parent company’ that holds all the products, including Power Apps, among others which you will use to overhaul and automate your business operations. Power BI helps in capturing the most critical data of a business, even when it’s spread across various departments, and is a serious data analysis tool. Power Automate, as the name suggests, automates repetitive tasks. It allows users to easily create workflows within a few minutes. The repetitive tasks are organized into pre-programmed activities and managed in a categorical and efficient environment. By eliminating the need to manually perform some tasks, Power Automate significantly increases one’s productivity. Lastly, the Power Virtual Agent creates powerful chatbots to answer any questions posed by other users, site visitors, and customers. Interestingly, and most importantly, these bots do not require data scientists or developers. For example, the Power Virtual Agent can be useful in tracking employee benefits and holidays, sales help among other functions depending on business operations. The utility is limitless, and all you need to do is customize it to better serve your business interests. For the Power Apps, they have been exhaustively discussed above. So, the main difference is that the Power Platform encompasses the four elements of products applicable in automating and increasing the efficiency of business operations.

4. What kind of business is Power Apps intended for?

Power Apps is intended for all types of businesses. It will allow you to create applications customized to your reality, this applies to all small, medium or large businesses. And this is true regardless of the sector in which your company operates.

5. Do I need to learn programming?

The Power Apps platform was designed to enable non-programmers to create their own applications. Therefore, it is completely unnecessary to learn how to code. And to make it easier, you can choose one of the predefined templates from the extensive Power Apps library. Then, you can customize it and get an application that is fitted to your needs.

6. Is it difficult to use?

The Power Apps user interface has been designed to be easy to use. For example, the layout of the elements on the screen is reminiscent of other Microsoft software, such as Power Point or Excel. The drag and drop features also allow you to move forward intuitively in building an application that is useful to your business.  

7. How does it work?

Power Apps offers you two ways to create your applications: Canvas or Model driven apps.   Canvas: The first approach has for which the name fits (since it literally means "whiteboard") because it reminds you of the process of creating starting from a whiteboard. This type of application allows you to manage a business process in the case of an already existing data source. Standard connectors already exist for most business applications.  Model driven apps: this second approach is more recent, although it was first introduced on Dynamics 365.  It allows you to manage both a data source and a business process. And this approach is ideal when starting from scratch with a new business need.  

8 . What are some examples of applications built with Power Apps?

Power Apps allows you to create applications that improve the efficiency of daily data collection.  For example, you could create an application that enables you to do the following:  

  • Makes it easier for your employees to enter data related to the number of hours worked.
  • Optimize expense management by allowing you to receive expense accounts from each employee.    
  • Allows your subcontractors to enter their control notes directly into your database (for example, for the regular checking of the condition of your equipment)  

Power Apps has the unique feature of being able to be created and launched very quickly (in a matter of days), unlike traditional development. Companies now have the means to respond to their needs quickly and autonomously.

9. What are some tips for optimizing the design for user needs?

When designing your application, never forget the ease of use. This is the key to ensure that your application will be successfully adopted by users.  Read the tips for optimizing your application design.

10 - How long does it take to learn?

It is possible to learn Power Apps in a single day. In fact, you can take a free App in A Day workshop which will teach you how to build your own application. Sign up for one of our upcoming workshops. All you need is a teachable and curious spirit and we shall guide you in the entire process. There are more resources available. Start by looking at YouTube, tutorials, and informational blogs that cover the area. Our training provides real-life applicability of the Power Apps. Explore the limitlessness of these resources in improving customer relationship management. Boost your productivity, and responsiveness and save on time and resources! What are your questions about Power Apps? Share them to us and and we will answer them all. We might even use some of your questions as the topic of our upcoming articles.

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